An Apple executive and his wife have donated $10 million to Bowdoin College to expand the private school’s Coastal Studies Center in Harpswell.

The gift is from Philip Schiller and Kim Gassett-Schiller of Half Moon Bay, California, whose son graduated from Bowdoin last year, college officials said Wednesday. Philip Schiller is senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc.

The money will be used for a new lab, a conference center, housing and dining facilities at the center, which is located on 118 acres on Orr’s Island.

The Schillers said they hope their gift will further research on climate change.

“I can’t think of anything more important than the environment, climate change,” Schiller said. “It’s happening and it’s inescapable and looking for things we can do, ways we can reduce its impact, change its impact – that’s going to take a lot of research and data and test theories. And Bowdoin is a unique place to contribute.

“Knowing that there is an opportunity for studies on the Maine coastline to contribute to research on global climate change is really great, and we want to help assist that and help Bowdoin be a leader in that,” Schiller said.


The Schillers’ donation is the latest in a series of recent major gifts to Maine’s private colleges. Earlier this year, Bates College graduates Alison Grott Bonney and Michael Bonney gave the college $50 million, after giving $10 million the year before. In February, the Colby College Museum of Art received its second gift of art valued at more than $100 million from longtime supporters Peter and Paula Lunder, which will be used to launch the Lunder Institute for American Art.

Also this year, Colby received $25 million from the Davis Family Foundation to fund study abroad opportunities, and $10 million from Portland developer Joseph Boulos toward a new athletic complex.

Bowdoin also received a $10 million gift in 2016 from David Roux, a college trustee, and his wife, Barbara, parents of a Bowdoin graduate. The funds will go toward a center for environmental studies on campus, with classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices and an auditorium.

Construction of the building, tentatively named the Roux Center for the Environment, is scheduled to begin in May, pending regulatory approvals, and be completed by fall 2018.

Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center, located 12 miles from campus, has been renamed the Schiller Coastal Studies Center, officials said. The property was donated to Bowdoin in 1981 by William Thalheimer and his wife, Irma G. Thalheimer, who lived there. In 1995, a $2.1 million gift from L.L. Bean chairman Leon Gorman and his wife, Lisa Gorman, was used to develop it into a research facility.

It currently has several labs, a farmhouse, a dock, research vessels and a sailing center.


“This extraordinary act of generosity and vision by Phil and Kim Schiller will transform the Coastal Studies Center into a facility where students and faculty from Bowdoin and from other institutions can gather together for concentrated periods to learn from each other and to advance knowledge and understanding about the ocean, marine science and the impact of climate change on marine life,” Bowdoin College President Clayton S. Rose said.

Bowdoin enrolls about 1,800 students and has an endowment of $1.34 billion, as of June 2016, the most recent figure available. Tuition, fees and room and board are approximately $66,000 a year.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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